P2P PLATFORM WEFARM TO HELP FARMERS NAVIGATE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Small-scale farmers traditionally rely on knowledge, which has been passed down from one generation to the next to overcome hurdles such as drought or diseases.
But new challenges, driven by rising global temperatures, means smallholder farmers may no longer be able depend on intergenerational knowledge to save their crops.
Providing a peer to peer knowledge sharing platform where farmers in different countries can troubleshoot problems and share best-practices in real-time could plug this knowledge gap. This is exactly what Wefarm,the world’s largest knowledge sharing platform for small-scale farmers, is offering.
Speaking to SIAL Paris newsroom, Kenny Ewan, the founder and CEO of Wefarm said: “Every industry is having to adapt quickly to climate change. Agriculture perhaps more so than any other sector. Just like everyone else in the industry, small-scale farmers aren’t prepared for this.
“Many rely on knowledge passed down generations, which is incredibly valuable, but it doesn’t address the challenges of climate change.”
Small-scale farmers are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and are facing many challenges, from poor access to traditional markets to a lack of agricultural inputs and finance, Wefarm says.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report, published last week, predicts global temperatures will rise by more than 1.5°C by the middle of the century if urgent action is not taken.
It states: “Without increased and urgent mitigation ambition in the coming years, leading to a sharp decline in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, global warming will surpass 1.5°C in the following decades, leading to irreversible loss of the most fragile ecosystems, and crisis after crisis for the most vulnerable people and societies.”
This rise in temperature is likely to have a knock-on effect on associated hazards, including extreme temperatures, heavy precipitation, droughts and dryness, run off and river flooding, tropical and extra-tropical cyclones, ocean circulation and temperatures, sea levels and ice and ocean chemistry, chapter 3 of the report states.
These climate hazards are increasing the need for vulnerable farmers to access clear and accurate information quickly.
Unfortunately, scientific research into the impact of a 1.5°C global temperature increase has only just started to emerge, the report warns, stating “In general, the number of impact studies that specifically focused on 1.5°C lags behind climate-change projections in general, due in part to the dependence of the former on the latter.”
With little information available, knowledge sharing platforms like Wefarm’s are going to become increasingly important for the world’s 608 million small-scale farmers to share effective coping mechanisms with other producers.
Ewan said: “Farmers have to lean on their community now to share knowledge and scale their knowledge at large, with hundreds of millions of other farmers around the world.
“Climate change is having an impact on food production globally, and we all depend on farmers coming together and solving this challenge for us and generations to come.”
To date, 2.5 million farmers have connected with one another for free and without access to the internet via Wefarm’s AI-driven SMS platform and 37 million conversations have taken place.
Earlier this year, the company added an online platform to its SMS service after securing $11 million USD in a Series A-Plus round of investment.
Kamran Adle, one of the early stage investors at Octopus Ventures said: “By building a highly engaged community of millions of small-holder farmers, Wefarm has created a powerful platform providing greater access to vital knowledge and information, which allows farmers to unlock greater economic potential from their land.
“In practice that might mean understanding which fertilisers work best, what the market price is for certain goods, or new farming techniques that result in better yields, all of which can make a significant difference to livelihoods.
“It’s also an enormous market with more than 400 million small-holder farmers globally who collectively spend around $400 billion on farming inputs.
“There is a huge opportunity for Kenny and the team at Wefarm to achieve incredible scale and we’re excited for the launch of its digital platform which will further accelerate growth.”